The New Orleans Saints were able to pick up another crucial win this past Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It may not have been pretty, but the best teams find a way to win in these situations, and that is what the Saints did. We may not have seen the offense keep up the momentum like we had hoped, but the defense continued their elite play. For the first time in the Sean Payton era, we are seeing the Saints defense carry most of the load rather than the offense.
The first half was a defensive stalemate. Neither side could get anything going on offense due to the play of the opposing defense. Both sides knew that this game, which was tied at 3-3 at the half, was going to come down to just a few plays. The team that could make those plays was going to win the game.
Coming out of the tunnel, the Jaguars got their hands on the ball first. This is when Marshon Lattimore, who has been playing like the BEST corner in the NFL the past few weeks, made a crucial play. He was able to stick with Jacksonville’s main man, DJ Chark, for most of the game. On this particular play, Lattimore’s excellent coverage led to an interception. This was a great reward for his amazing play and swung the momentum in the Saints’ favor just a minute and a half into the third quarter.
Unfortunately, the resulting drive would stall out on the Jaguars’ three-yard line. This meant that Sean Payton had a decision to make. He could go for it and risk getting now points or he could take the three and trust his defense who had played so well. He decided to send out Wil Lutz to knock through the 21-yard field goal. This gave the Saints the 6-3 lead. On Jacksonville’s next possession, they moved the ball down the field effectively. However, they found themselves at a 3rd down and 2 at the Saints’ 10-yard line. Cam Jordan came up with a clutch sack forcing Jacksonville to take their three points. Josh Lambo came out to hit the 32-yard field goal, which tied the game at 6-6.
Teddy B and the offense would then embark on an 85-yard drive to try to take the lead. The drive began with a 26-yard pass to Michael Thomas.
A few plays later, on 3rd and 6, Taysom Hill checked in to rush for the big gain and a first down. Bridgewater would find Michael Thomas one more time to get inside the 10-yard line. The drive concluded with Teddy Bridgewater firing in a perfectly placed pass to Jared Cook for the five-yard touchdown! This gave the Saints the 13-6 lead.
On Jacksonville’s next drive, they decided to go for a 4th down and 2 with just over nine minutes to go. The pass fell incomplete due to a nice pass rush and good coverage by Eli Apple. Unfortunately, the Saints offense could not get anything going on the ensuing drive. The drive ended with a three and out that saw Teddy Bridgewater sacked on third down. Luckily, the Saints defense would step up once again. On a 3rd down and 5, Minshew tried to find Dede Westbrook, but Marshon Lattimore was having none of it. He got his hand out and broke up the pass, forcing Jacksonville to punt.
This is when the Saints would put the nail in the coffin. The offense would put together a drive that drained the last six minutes of the contest. On a 3rd down and 1 with 3:20 to go, Bridgewater was able to throw off of his back foot and find Jared Cook for the big gain and the first down. Since Jacksonville had only one timeout remaining, the Saints only needed one more first down to officially end the game. It came on the very next play when Latavius Murray ran for a gain of 10 yards! This allowed the Saints to take three knees and begin to celebrate another fantastic team win!
So, the Saints now sit with a 5-1 record, which puts them on top of the NFC South for another week. Drew Brees is ahead of schedule on his recovery and believes there is a chance he could play in week eight against Arizona. Our boys will look to keep the momentum going when they travel to take on the Chicago Bears in a primetime matchup on Sunday afternoon. We should be proud of our boys and ready for the next game on Sunday! Whodat!!!